Nine Tasks

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January 19, 2019-

Many people make resolutions, the first thing, when the calendar rolls over.  I don’t indulge in that particular practice, knowing that making firm commitments to new practices takes time.

There are nine task areas, labours of love, that have defined my life, since the passing of  Penny, nearly eight years ago.  I will focus today on what these mean, relative to 2019.

1.  Family- With Aram and Yoonhee based in Busan, for at  least the rest of this year, my focuses are: To be in Korea for their sacred wedding ceremony, in March; to tend to such of their needs as can only be addressed on this side of the Pacific; to meet them in the U.S., should they visit here in the summer.

2.  Work- I remain committed to working, during the regular academic year, through at least December, 2020 and no later than May. 2021, depending on the needs of the school, preferably in the High School Autism Program.  Thus, work is a major daily focus through the fourth week of May and from August-December.

3. Faith- No day has gone by, since February 23, 1981, that I have not begun my morning in devotions and a fairly long recitation of prayer.  Service to Baha’u’llah remains  a prime expression of my inner joy and love for humanity.  This year marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of al-Bab (The Gate), Who we revere as both Baha’u’llah’s Herald and His Twin Messenger of God, as al-Bab’s spiritual Dispensation took place from 1844-1853, immediately before the beginning of Baha’u’llah’s.   Their birthdays also fall on two consecutive days, on the lunar calendar.  This year, these are October 29-30, with al-Bab’s  anniversary occurring first. (Historically, Baha’u’llah was born in 1817 and al-Bab, in 1819).  There are also regular Spiritual Feasts and other Holy Days, throughout the year and I  am participating in regular study groups and other activities.

4.  Community Life-  I take part in volunteering on community projects, with the American Red Cross and Slow Food Prescott.  The focuses are on disaster response, home safety, school gardens and,  new this year, food recovery.  These activities largely define my giving back to Prescott and Yavapai County, for having been a large part of my solace, in the Fall of 2011.  The American Legion’s Post 6 celebrates its 100th anniversary, in May, and I will have a part to play in that celebration.

5. Writing- Blogging and journaling have also been critical to my inner healing, even in the midst of my caretaking, in 2008-11.   They remain an integral part of who I am, and so Word Press, with its being extended to Facebook and Linked In, remains my primary means of self-expression, through this year and beyond.  I also maintain a pen and ink private journal.

6, Hiking-  This has been a huge lifelong pastime, pretty much since I was old enough to walk.  Since I’ve been old enough to take off on my own, without getting into trouble, many trails and paths, from my native Massachusetts to the desert Southwest, Colorado, southeast Alaska, Korea and northwestern Europe have seen my bootprints.  This year, my focuses will be on further segments of the Maricopa Trail, at least two visits to the Grand Canyon, more beach walks in southern California, Fall hikes in Utah and the Navajo Nation, and several walks with Aram and Yoonhee, whilst in Korea.

7. Travel-  This has also long been one of my passions, often dovetailing with hiking.  The Korea trip will take me to Gwangju and Jeju, as well as Busan.  Prior to that, will be a Presidents’ Day weekend visit to southern California, hopefully connecting with friends in Orange County and the San Diego area-with La Jolla, Dana Point, San Clemente and possibly Crystal Cove being on the itinerary.

June and July largely hinge on my little family’s schedule.  Carson City, in late May, is a given, with a new extended family member having been born, this past week.  A 1-2 week visit to the Northwest, Vancouver Island/Sunshine Coast and southeast Alaska is likely-as is the now customary jaunt through the Midwest to New England and back through the mid-South.

October (Fall Break) will find me in Monument Valley and southeast Utah- returning to Capitol Reef and Natural Bridges, as well as the Goosenecks of the San Juan River.  Christmas, God-willing, will see a return to Massachusetts.

8. Diet and Exercise- Planet Fitness and our daily Adaptive Physical Education regimen have largely provided my continuity as a healthy physical specimen.  Stretches at home have also proven critical, as I recovered from a posterior knee strain, over the past ten weeks.  Things are 99% back to normal and I want to keep it that way- up to, and maintaining, 100%.  I am cutting back on coffee consumption, not out of any pressure, but because my body tells me that’s what it wants.  Less red meat is also finding its way onto my plate-and what there is, is certified grass-fed and organic.  A greater percentage of my diet being of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is on tap for this year, as well.  Yes, I will drink more water-that’s not an empty statement. Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, including Lifelong Vitality Supplements, are a continual source of sustenance.

9. Study-  My mind is always looking to keep current with advances in health, trends in positive thought and expanding my awareness of subjects in which I have scant knowledge- as well as continual study of Baha’i texts and new correspondence. This will continue, as 2019 progresses.

This is a longer post than usual, but there you have my year’s plan.

 

 

 

One, Two, Three, Four- The Plans

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January 22, 2018, Prescott-

Every so often, I come out with details of my plans for this or that.  One year (day, month) at a time, I have been advised.  That makes sense for anyone my age, on up.  So my plans for this year, 2018, ought to be a foundation for what comes next.

This year, I will work, diligently, both at my day job- which will see an uptick in the number of students we have, come August, and at my financial effort, which is, admittedly, still in its fledgling state ( I can hear the Boo Birds, now- “There he goes again!”), but is being pursued, carefully, with a lot of expert support.  This will bring me to San Diego, the fourth weekend in March, for a mentoring conference.  Prior to that, I will have had nearly 60 hours of training and mentoring calls.  I have detailed other travel plans, in a previous post, and those still stand for next month, and for May-June.  An uptick in income would also allow me to join other mentoring events.

That covers the number one.  “Two” takes in 2019.  Next year marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of al-Bab, the immediate predecessor of Baha’u’llah, and His Herald.  This event, marked in late October, will be the overarching event of the year, for me and for millions of others.  My summer travels will bring me back to the Pacific Northwest, and southeast Alaska.  My work and financial ventures will continue apace. Then, too, who knows what the Universe will add on to all that?

“Three” brings us to 2020.  As I turn 70, in November of that year, its March will see my final physical Fast, under Baha’i law.  The Fast will have spiritual import for me, the rest of my life, but abstaining from food and beverages will not apply, once I reach the age of seventy.   I hope to be at, or past, my financial goals by New Year’s Day of that year.  Travel wise, I am looking at a Trans-Canada (BC to Newfoundland) road trip, in June and July.

“Four” means 2021.  This year will mark the Centenary of the Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’u’llah’s eldest son and His Successor, as Head of the Baha’i Faith.  My longtime readers may remember that, in 2012, we commemorated the centennial of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to North America.  2021 will, thus,also be a special year for us Baha’is.

For me, personally, it will bring the end of my full-time employment as an educator.  I have ambitious, but still tentative, plans for international travel.  Besides those, I will be more active on the volunteer front, in whatever community (ies) I may find myself, once “retired”.

So there are the substances of numbers one through four, as they pertain to my humble life.  Many of these could very well come to pass, though the Universe does throw a curve at each of us, every so often!

The Road to 65, Mile 358: Positivity Outside

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November 21, 2015, Prescott- I looked, to no avail, for a parking spot near the point where I left off on Prescott Circle, last Saturday.  I have an ethic about such things:  Never park on a business lot, unless patronizing said business.  So, the second half of Segment 7 will wait until after Thanksgiving, most likely until the afternoon of December 6.

That bit of irrelevance aside, the outdoors, as is well known to my readers, is a huge part of my life.  Positivity arises from the mountains, the desert, the beaches, the grasslands and the serene forests.  Even the ocean has given me a sense of serenity.

Sedona’s red rocks and pine forests abound in good vibrations, as do “our own” forests, lakes and grasslands, around Prescott and vicinity. The vortices of Sedona are closely matched by Thumb Butte.

I have felt similar vibrations elsewhere:  At Indian Gardens, along the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Trail; at both Spirit (“Devil’s”) Tower and Medicine Wheel, in northeast Wyoming; at Cahokia Mounds and at the Cairo Confluence, in southern Illinois; at Palo Duro Canyon, in northwest Texas; at Cape Flattery, Washington (the northwestern-most point in the contiguous United States; atop Harney Peak, South Dakota; at several points along Waikiki Beach, Hawai’i; and at more places than I can count, in southeast Alaska.  Then, too, Spirit knows no boundaries:  Stanley Park, Vancouver, the woods of Metz and Le Donjon, Rouen, France, held me in rapt respect.

The wind spoke to me, while on the ocean between Honolulu and San Diego and the rock along the River Trail glowed, in multicolours, when I first visited Palo Duro.  Spiders rode the breeze, on their webs, at Cathedral Rock, Sedona and spun exquisite places of rest in Olustee State Park, Florida, while I watched, in wonder.

There will, no doubt, be other encounters on the road ahead.  Nature eternally urges us onward.

The Road to 65, Mile 271: Hostels

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August 26, 2015, Prescott- Our city has a small youth hostel, located on a quiet west side street.  I’ve not had reason to go by there, but as I had positive experiences  with youth, and other, hostels, this past June, I would help anyone wanting to visit here, who also enjoys the hostel life, to get reservations.

The hostels in which I stayed, in southeast Alaska, were varied in terms of gender separation vs. “coed” floors.  Juneau had a very strict separation of sleeping facilities.  Sitka gave the adult hostelers a choice.  Ketchikan’s hostelers were all men, so the matter didn’t come up, when I was there. I usually opt for a “coed” bay, when it is permitted, as I don’t have any hidden agenda, and being with mature women, or a strong couple, just seems more normal to me.

The common rooms were in varied states of decor.  Juneau had a spacious area in which to relax, and a sizable adjoining kitchen.  Sitka had two small kitchens, and a very pleasant enclosed veranda, which offered a view of an eagle’s nest, in a spruce tree nearby.  Ketchikan had a small kitchenette, and a TV room, which was modest but comfortable.

Going back to the hostels, for the first time since I stayed in one in San Diego, in 1980, gave me a good chance to make a number of new friends.  I hope that anyone traveling either alone, or with a best friend, will consider this option.  It’s not as “rough” as it sometimes sounds.

The Road to 65: Mile One

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November 29, 2014, San Diego- Yesterday, I turned the corner on sixty-four years of age.  The next birthday will represent something of a milestone, for what it used to mean, and still symbolizes in many minds:  Old Age.  To me, and to many other Baby Boomers, though, it’s another year to be spent well.

I started this year by kicking an illness to the curb.  It was an upper respiratory matter, and a combination of essential oils, Vitamin C tabs, echinacea/goldenseal in hot tea, more hot tea with lemon and honey, and good Korean kimchi made recovery happen in short order.  I also spent time at one of my favourite spots in San Diego, La Jolla Cove, with one of my favourite people, my son.

As with any new journey, it’s worth looking ahead.  So here is a look at what the next twelve months seem to have in store.

December- A couple of Faith Community meetings, early in the month, then the 30th Annual Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, right after Christmas.  My growth continues, in learning about Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils. Every day, I will go on site and spend an hour or so, building my store of knowledge.  Travel, within the Four Corners-Southern California sphere, will take me to western New Mexico:  Gallup, Zuni, El Morro, Bosque del Apache, Silver City and Lordsburg; then back around by Tucson and up to Phoenix for the aforementioned Baha’i Conference.

January- Usually, this is a month for laying low, but life close to home continues apace.  Having rung in the New, with fellow revelers in downtown Prescott, I may head up to Las Vegas for the first two days of the new year, to visit friends and walk in the Valley of Fire. I will spend time tilling my back yard, removing the weeds that have largely overcome the small plot on the northeast corner of our back lot.  Hiking more sections of Tonto Natural Bridge and the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail is on the menu.  I will finish the month in Boulder, CO, at a  Winter Summit.

February- This will be another topsy-turvy month, taking me across the southern tier of states, (Feb. 6-17- with stops in El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans and the Panama City area, before spending 3-4 days visiting my mother-in-law, near Leesburg, FL.).

March- Always largely a month largely spent in fasting and reflection, sun-up to sun-down from 3/2-20, the time of Spring Break and NCAA Championships will find me visiting  SoCal, briefly, visiting family, and a couple of friends in OC and LA.  The rest of the time, we Baha’is greet our New Year on March 21 and I will plant some early-sprouting items like peas and tomatoes.

April-   This will be quiet, travel-wise, barring any emergencies.  Most likely, I will go up two small Flagstaff-area peaks:  Kendrick and Red Mountain.

May & June- I will stick close to home until the school year ends, then head northwest- through Nevada, northern California, central Oregon, western Washington, Vancouver (city and island), Haida Gwai’i and southeast Alaska, returning via eastern Washington, Idaho and Utah, in time for:

July- This Independence Day will be spent in Prescott, with a foray over to the venerable Prescott Rodeo.  Then, it’s off to San Diego for another filial birthday, on the 7th.  I will spend a couple of days in Santa Barbara and Ojai, before hunkering down in the Four Corners states, for the rest of the summer.

August- I will have planted squash and pumpkins, after returning from the Great North.  They will show me, this month, how they have responded to monsoon-style dry farming.  A few days among the Navajo and Hopi will be in order, as well.

September- Fall again, so soon?  Not necessarily, in AZ.  The  return of dry weather will mean some late watering of the nearly-mature crops.  My brother may be here, for his own special birthday, in the Grand Canyon.  Also possible:  Salt Lake City, for a five-day Parliament of Religions.

October-  I hopefully will carve a pumpkin that I have grown myself.  Rest assured, anything I grow will be from heirloom organic seeds.  A weekend camp-out in the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks wilderness will be in order.

November- The road to 65 ends here, before branching off to another year of growth and challenge.  My 65 starts on a Saturday, two days after Thanksgiving, so that means another great weekend in San Diego.

Books?  Yes, they are an intense part of my life, still.  In the next post, I will look back at this year’s reading achievements and ahead to those awaiting along the path I have just started.